All images copyright by Jerry Custer

Diesels were my dad's favorite, so they get a little more love on this tab.

Ivy City Trio

In my younger years we lived on the outskirts of Washington D.C. and generally my father hated driving into the city.  There was one exception, Ivy City.  

Technically, Ivy City wasn't even a part of D.C. It formally became part of the District in 1871 long after the B&O railroad had established its rail yard just outside the limits of the city.  This site has the distinction of being the last roundhouse B&O ever built.  Eventually the rail yard became property of Amtrak but was no stranger to traffic from other railroads.  

This photo was one of my father's favorite and features three engines ready for action, a pair of Amtrak’s and a Southern E8.

Ivy CIty Door

Here is another example of the mix of power one could encounter at Ivy City in the late 70s/early 80s.  This photograph is a scan from one of my father's slides.  

To many, this would be considered a great picture but I remember my father cursing the lazy engineer for leaving the nose door open on the Seaboard and ruining his shot.

In talking with my uncle Lew, I learned that they kept the door open to help cool down the cab (poor man's air conditioning) and that a number of those engines had the bathroom up front, so they may have been airing out the stink lodge.

Ivy City Turbo Train

Here is an older photograph of Ivy City featuring Amtrak's Turbo train in its later years.  The Turbo Train was an early attempt at establishing high speed rail service on Amtrak's eastern corridor.   

The trains included several innovative design features including a much lower profile (sitting about 2 feet lower than other passenger trains at the time) and had engineer cabs on both ends for faster turn-arounds at the end of the line.  The engine was powered by an aircraft-type gas turbine designed by United Aircraft Corporation and developed by Sikorsky who would later go on to produce the Blackhawk helicopter. They were Originally built in the 60's, these streamline passenger trains saw service into the 80's.

Several other photos are available on my father's site.

One of my father's favorite railroads was the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) or more informally referred to as Pennsy.  Here we see PRR 5711 emerging from the Gallitzin Tunnel in Pennsylvania.  

One of the interesting features on this particular engine is the radio antenna that runs the length of the roof.  That design was found on a number of Pennsy engines.   

A CSX freight train makes its way out of the tunnel at Point of Rocks, which is well known for its Victorian era styled station. I'm not quite sure what it is, but something looks a bit strange in this photograph.  My father was known for some photoshop shenanigans, but there isn't anything unusual about seeing a CSX freight train on that line.  At least I don't think there is.  

Perhaps it is simply the shadow being cast on the engine.  Either way, I think its a great picture. 

And speaking of the Point of Rocks Station... 

A MARC train passes by the historic Point of Rocks Station just outside of Frederick Maryland.  The station was built in 1873 by the B&O railroad and its elaborate Victorian design was to help signify the importance of railways as a cornerstone of our country's post-civil war infrastructure.  

The building is now used as a storage facility, but the passing MARC train is an important part of the region's modern day infrastructure running close to 100 trains each day during the workweek. 

I'm not 100% but I believe the picture to the right was taken at Steamtown in Scranton Pa.  It has an interesting mix of engines.  I am hoping to make a trip to Steamtown in the spring so my son can see the Big Boy they have on display.

My dad loved the two-tone green Erie paint job.  He had a few model trains in that paint scheme as well as some artwork.

I have one of my father's paintings of Erie's 833 on my wall at work.  He did quite a bit of rail fanning while battling cancer and took a trip up north and took the picture to the left while traveling through Port Jervis NY.

My dad was a big fan of the red, yellow and black Kansas City Southern paint scheme.  Not sure if it tied back to his days a kid and playing with Marx trains, which featured a tinplate locomotive with this paint job or if he just really liked the look.  He custom painted a deluxe plastic Marx diesel and matching passenger train.  Of all the custom painted sets he did, it was probably the one he was most proud of.  He traveled out west on vacation and was able to get a picture of this fp7a in August 2007.  

Boston & Maine's Streamliner was known as the Flying Yankee was captured as it sits in some high grass.  I am not sure when or where this photograph was taken.   Many of my father's photographs contained clues in their file names.  

This one was simply labeled IMG200b2.   He may not have bothered renaming it with one of his different file conventions as it was likely taken at a museum and not a significant picture in his mind.  I would disagree as it is definitely a great picture of a great locomotive.  Some Internet research indicates this engine has moved around from a few locations and there is an effort to restore it (or one just like it).    

I found this picture while looking for some pictures he took at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis where they have a similar engine on display.

And while on the topic of trains on display at the museum in St. Louis, here is the Aerotrain, another really stylish streamliner. 

The Aerotrain was a special project from General Motors Electro-Motive Division in the 1950s.  Demand for passenger service was dwindling and GM hoped to lure people back with its sleek new streamlined design.  Being on a budget GM sourced many parts from existing products and used modified buses to create passenger cars that were light weight and efficient.  The engine took styling cues from the automotive industry and can be seen in features like the wrap-around windshield in the cab, multiple headlights and pin stripping.  


I had to do a little digging to get the story with this C&O F-unit.  I figured it had to be a preservation project and it looks like I was right.

The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad operates out of West Virginia and has several engines in its roster including C&O 8016 (and if I am right the engine that is cropped out to the right a B&O GP 9.    The C&O F3 was formerly belonged to CSX an was originally built in 1949 and saw service as one of Clinchfield's locomotives.  

I am not quite sure where this spot is, but I have seen a number of pictures taken in at this location, so I assume it was pretty close to home.  Not so close to home was the foreign power leading a freight train.  Here we see a relatively rare sight, BNSF engine.  I am sure it was my dad's prized picture for the day.

I found this picture while stumbling through my dad's archive.  It predates me by three years as it was taken in 1972 in New Haven CT.  It is an interesting example of a Budd car or RDC (Rail Diesel Car) where they grafted the front end of a locomotive onto the cab.  Most Budd cars simply looked like a passenger car, so this one really caught my attention.  

I wish it was a better shot so I could see the whole car, but feel lucky just to have an example like this from my Dad's collection.   Who knows.  There may be others.  I will just have to keep digging!

This picture makes the cut for the sole reason that it features my father's 69 Dodge Charger in the foreground.   I am sure he parked it there on purpose so he could fit it in the shot.  He loved that car but the passion was short lived as it disappeared in the early 70s thanks to some car thieves.    Dad always missed his Charger.



Here is an Erie Lackawanna Gp35.  The file name read as "el gp35 2569 west end kent yard 05-73a" which implies the photo was originally taken in May of 1973 at Kent Yard.   It was interesting to see how detailed my father was when cataloging some of his photos.